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Friday, September 5, 2014

Janet Jackson

Collection of Janet Jackson

Few celebrity siblings can emerge from the shadows of their already famous relations to become superstars in their own right and with their own distinct personalities. That's exactly what Janet Jackson did in becoming one of the biggest female pop and R&B stars of the '80s and '90s. Since her breakthrough in 1986 with the album Control, Jackson's career as a hitmaker has been a model of consistency, rivaling Madonna and Whitney Houston in terms of pop chart success over the long haul. A big part of the reason was that Jackson kept her level of quality control very high; her singles were always expertly crafted, with indelible pop hooks and state-of-the-art production that kept up with contemporary trends in urban R&B. Once established, her broad-based appeal never really dipped all that much; she was able to avoid significant career missteps, musical and otherwise, and successfully shifted her image from a strong, independent young woman to a sexy, mature adult. With a string of multi-platinum albums under her belt, she showed no signs of slowing down in the new millennium.

Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born May 16, 1966, in Gary, IN. She was the youngest of nine children in the Jackson family, and her older brothers had already begun performing together as the Jackson 5 by the time she was born. Bitten by the performing bug at a young age, she first appeared on-stage with the Jackson 5 at age seven, and began a sitcom acting career at the age of ten in 1977, when producer Norman Lear selected her to join the cast of Good Times. She remained there until 1979, and subsequently appeared on Diff'rent Strokes (1981-1982) and A New Kind of Family. In 1982, pushed by her father into trying a singing career, Jackson released her self-titled first album on A&M; a couple of singles scraped the lower reaches of the charts, but on the whole, it made very little noise. She was cast in the musical series Fame in 1983; the following year, she issued her second album, Dream Street, which sold even more poorly than its predecessor. Upon turning 18, Jackson rebelled against her parents' close supervision, eloping with a member of another musical family, singer James DeBarge. However, the relationship quickly hit the rocks and Jackson wound up moving back into her parents' home and having the marriage annulled.

Jackson took some time to rethink her musical career, and her father hired her a new manager, John McClain, who isolated his young charge to train her as a dancer (and make her lose weight). McClain hooked Jackson up with producers/writers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, whom she'd seen perform as members of the Minneapolis funk outfit the Time. Jackson collaborated with Jam and Lewis on most of the tracks for her next album, Control, which presented her as a confident, tough-minded young woman (with a soft side and a sense of humor) taking charge of her life for the first time. In support of Jackson's new persona, Jam and Lewis crafted a set of polished, computerized backing tracks with slamming beats that owed more to hard, hip-hop-tinged funk and urban R&B than Janet's older brother Michael's music. Control became an out-of-the-box hit, and eventually spun off six singles, the first five of which -- "What Have You Done for Me Lately," the catch phrase-inspiring "Nasty," the number one "When I Think of You," the title track, and the ballad "Let's Wait Awhile" -- hit the Top Five on the pop charts. Jackson was hailed as a role model for young women and Control eventually sold over five million copies, establishing Jackson as not just a star, but her own woman. It also made Jam and Lewis a monstrously in-demand production team.

For the hotly anticipated follow-up, McClain wanted to push Jackson toward more overtly sexual territory, to which she objected strenuously. Instead, she began collaborating with Jam and Lewis on more socially conscious material, which formed the backbone of 1989's Rhythm Nation 1814 (the "1814" purportedly stood for either the letters "R" and "N" or the year "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written). Actually, save for the title track, most of the record's singles were bright and romantically themed; four of them -- "Miss You Much," "Escapade," "Black Cat," and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" -- hit number one, and three more -- "Rhythm Nation," "Alright," and "Come Back to Me" -- reached the Top Five, making Jackson the first artist ever to produce seven Top Five hits off of one album (something not even her brother Michael had accomplished). Aside from a greater use of outside samples, Rhythm Nation's sound largely resembled that of Control, but was just as well crafted, and listeners embraced it enthusiastically, buying over six million copies. Jackson undertook her first real tour (she'd appeared at high schools around the country in 1982) in support of the album and it was predictably a smashing success. In 1991, Jackson capitalized on her success by jumping from A&M to Virgin for a reported $32 million, and also secretly married choreographer and longtime boyfriend René Elizondo.

Once on Virgin, Jackson set about revamping her sound and image. Her 1992 duet with Luther Vandross from the Mo' Money soundtrack, "The Best Things in Life Are Free," was a major R&B hit, also reaching the pop Top Ten. The following year, she also resumed her acting career, co-starring in acclaimed director (and former junior high classmate) John Singleton's Poetic Justice, along with rapper Tupac Shakur. But neither really hinted at the sexy, seductive, fully adult persona she unveiled with 1993's janet., her Virgin debut. Jackson trumpeted her new image with a notorious Rolling Stone cover photo, in which her topless form was covered by a pair of hands belonging to an unseen "friend." Musically, Jam and Lewis set aside the synthesized funk of their first two albums with Jackson in favor of warm, inviting, gently undulating grooves. The album's lead single, the slinky "That's the Way Love Goes," became Jackson's biggest hit ever, spending eight weeks at number one. It was followed by a predictably long parade of Top Ten hits -- "If," the number one ballad "Again," "Because of You," "Any Time, Any Place," "You Want This." janet.'s debut showing at number one made it her third straight chart-topping album, and it went on to sell nearly seven million copies.

In 1995, Janet and Michael teamed up for the single "Scream," which was supported by an elaborate, award-winning, space-age video that, upon completion, ranked as the most expensive music video ever made. The single debuted at number five on the pop charts, but gradually slid down from there. In 1996, A&M issued a retrospective of her years at the label, Design of a Decade 1986-1996; it featured the Virgin hit "That's the Way Love Goes" and a few new tracks, one of which, "Runaway," became a Top Five hit. Jackson also signed a new contract with Virgin for a reported $80 million. Yet while working on her next album, Jackson reportedly suffered an emotional breakdown, or at least a severe bout with depression; she later raised eyebrows when she talked in several interviews about the cleansing value of coffee enemas as part of her treatment. Her next album, The Velvet Rope, appeared in 1997 and was touted as her most personal and intimate work to date. The Velvet Rope sought to combine the sensuality of janet. with the more socially conscious parts of Rhythm Nation, mixing songs about issues like domestic abuse, AIDS, and homophobia with her most sexually explicit songs ever. Critical opinion on the album was divided; some applauded her ambition, while others found the record too bloated. The lead American single "Together Again," an elegy for AIDS victims, was a number one hit; also popular on the radio was "Got 'til It's Gone," which featured rapper Q-Tip and a sample of Joni Mitchell over a reggae beat. "I Get Lonely," featuring Blackstreet, was another big hit; but on the whole, The Velvet Rope didn't prove to be the blockbuster singles bonanza that its predecessors were, which was probably why its sales stalled at around three million copies.

Jackson toured the world again, and stayed on the charts in 1999 with the Top Five Busta Rhymes duet "What's It Gonna Be?!"; her appearance in the video remade her as a glitzy, artificially costumed, single-name diva. In 2000, she appeared in the Eddie Murphy comedy Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, and her soundtrack contribution, "Doesn't Really Matter," became a number one single. Unfortunately, Jackson's marriage to Elizondo had become strained and the couple divorced in 2000, sparking a court battle over her musical income. Jackson returned with a new album, All for You, in 2001, which largely continued the sensual tone of janet. and The Velvet Rope; it debuted at number one, selling over 600,000 copies in its first week alone. The title track was issued as the album's first single and quickly topped the charts, followed by another sizable hit in "Someone to Call My Lover."

While Jackson spent much of 2001 and 2002 on the road supporting All for You, she also found time for some guest appearances, most notably with Beenie Man on his Tropical Storm LP and Justin Timberlake on Justified. By 2003 she was back in the studio, working once again with Jam and Lewis on tracks for a new album; additional producers included Dallas Austin and Kanye West. Later that year, it was revealed Jackson would take part in an MTV-produced extravaganza during halftime at the Super Bowl. 2004 began with an Internet leak of the upbeat Austin production "Just a Little While." The singer's camp rolled with the punches, offering the track to radio as an authorized digital download, but the buzz this business caused was minuscule in comparison to the nightmare union of free exposure and bad publicity that Jackson's next adventure caused. Appearing at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII as scheduled, Jackson performed "All for You" and "Rhythm Nation" before bringing out surprise guest Timberlake for a duet on his hit "Rock Your Body." But the real surprise came at song's end, when a gesture from Timberlake caused Jackson's costume to tear, exposing her right, pierced breast on live television to hundreds of millions of viewers.

The incident caused furious backpedaling and apologizing from Timberlake, Jackson, the NFL, CBS, and MTV, which swore no previous knowledge of the so-called "wardrobe malfunction," and led to speculation over how Damita Jo -- Jackson's upcoming album and her first in three years -- would be received. But while the controversy gave Jackson both grief and a bit of free advertising, it was also the impetus for a national debate on public indecency. A federal commission was set up to investigate prurience, the FCC enacted tougher crackdowns on TV and radio programs broadcasting questionable content, and suddenly everyone from pundits to politicians to the man in the street had an opinion on Janet Jackson's chest. Later that March, the singer quietly started making the talk show rounds. She was still apologizing for the incident, but she was also promoting Damita Jo, which Virgin issued at the end of the month. Largely considered a disappointment, the album nonetheless sold over two million copies worldwide and earned three Grammy nominations. 20 Y.O. followed two years later, and though it was reviewed more favorably than Damita Jo, it was off the Billboard 200 album chart after 15 weeks. Jermaine Dupri, Jackson's love interest and the executive producer of the album, was so upset over Virgin's lack of support that he left his post as president of Virgin's urban division. Dupri moved to Island, and so did Jackson; in 2008, Jackson released her tenth studio album, Discipline. Allmusic by Steve Huey

Album: Janet Jackson (1982)

01. Say You Do
02. You'll Never Find (A Love Like Mine)
03. Young Love
04. Love and My Best Friend
05. Don't Mess Up This Good Thing
06. Forever Yours
07. The Magic Is Working
08. Come Give Your Love to Me

Album: Dream Street (1984)

01. Don't Stand Another Chance
02. Two to the Power of Love
03. Pretty Boy
04. Dream Street
05. Communication
06. Fast Girls
07. Hold Back the Tears
08. All My Love to You
09. If It Takes All Night

Album: Control (1986)

01. Control
02. Nasty
03. What Have You Done for Me Lately
04. You Can Be Mine
05. The Pleasure Principle
06. When I Think of You
07. He Doesn't Know I'm Alive
08. Let's Wait Awhile
09. Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)

Album: Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

01 Interlude: Pledge
02 Rhythm Nation
03 Interlude: T.V.
04 State of the World
05 Interlude: Race
06 The Knowledge
07 Interlude: Let's Dance
08 Miss You Much
09 Interlude: Come Back
10 Love Will Never Do (Without You)
11 Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)
12 Alright
13 Interlude: Hey Baby
14 Escapade
15 Interlude: No Acid
16 Black Cat
17 Lonely
18 Come Back to Me
19 Someday Is Tonight
20 Interlude: Livin'... In Complete Darkness

Album: janet (1993)

01 Morning
02 That's the Way Love Goes
03 You Know...
04 You Want This
05 Be a Good Boy...
06 If
07 Back
08 This Time
09 Go on Miss Janet
10 Throb
11 What'll I Do
12 The Lounge
13 Funky Big Band
14 Racism
15 New Agenda
16 Love Pt. 2
17 Because of Love
18 Wind
19 Again
20 Another Lover
21 Where Are You Now
22 Hold on Baby
23 The Body That Loves You
24 Rain
25 Any Time, Any Place
26 Are You Still Up
27 Sweet Dreams / Whoops Now

Album: janet. Remixed (1995)

01. That's The Way Love Goes (CJ FXTC Club Mix)
02. If (Brothers In Rhythm House Mix)
03. Because Of Love (Frankie & David Treat Mix)
04. And On and On
05. Throb (Morales Backyard Mix)
06. You Want This (E-Smoove House Anthem)
07. Any Time, Any Place (CJ's 12' Mix)
08. Where Are You Now (Nellee Hooper Mix)
09. 70s Love Groove
10. What'll I Do (Dave Navarro Mix)
11. Any Time, Any Place (R.Kelly Mix)

Album: Design of a Decade (1995)

01. Runaway
02. What Have You Done for Me Lately
03. Nasty
04. When I Think of You
05. Escapade
06. Miss You Much
07. Love Will Never Do (Without You)
08. Alright
09. Control
10. The Pleasure Principle
11. Black Cat
12. Rhythm Nation
13. That's the Way Love Goes
14. Come Back to Me
15. Let's Wait Awhile
16. Twenty Foreplay

Album: The Velvet Rope (1997)

01. Interlude: Twisted Elegance
02. Velvet Rope
03. You
04. Got 'Til It's Gone
05. Interlude: Speaker Phone
06. My Need
07. Interlude: Fasten Your Seatbelts
08. Go Deep
09. Free Xone
10. Interlude: Memory
11. Together Again
12. Interlude: Online
13. Empty
14. Interlude: Full
15. What About
16. Every Time
17. Tonight's the Night
18. I Get Lonely
19.. Rope Burn
20 Anything
21. Interlude: Sad
22. Special / Can't Be Stopped

Album: All For You (2001)

01. Intro
02. You Ain't Right
03. All for You
04. 2wayforyou
05. Come On Get Up
06. When We Oooo
07. China Love
08. Love Scene (Ooh Baby)
09. Would You Mind
10. Lame
11. Trust a Try
12. Clouds (Interlude)
13. Son of a Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)
14. Truth
15. Theory
16. Someone to Call My Lover
17. Feels So Right
18. Doesn't Really Matter
19. Better Days
20. Outro

Album: Damita Jo (2004)

01. Looking for Love
02. Damita Jo
03. Sexhibition
04. Strawberry Bounce
05. My Baby
06. The Islands
07. Spending Time with You
08. Magic Hour
09. Island Life
10. All Nite (Don't Stop)
11. R&B Junkie
12. I Want You
13. Like You Don't Love Me
14. Thinkin' Bout My Ex
15. Warmth
16. Moist
17. It All Comes Down to Love
18. Truly
19. The One
20. SloLove
21. Country
22. Just a Little While

Album: 20 Y.O (2006)

01. (Intro) 20
02. So Excited
03. Show Me
04. Get It Out Me
05. Do It 2 Me
06. This Body
07. 20 Part 2 (Interlude)
08. With U
09. Call on Me
10. 20 Part 3 (Interlude)
11. Daybreak
12. Enjoy
13. 20 Part 4 (Interlude)
14. Take Care
15. Love 2 Love
16. (Outro) 20 Part 5

Album: Discipline (2008)

01. I.D. (Interlude)
02. Feedback
03. Luv
04. Spinnin (Interlude)
05. Rollercoaster
06. Bathroom Break (Interlude)
07. Rock With U
08. 2nite
09. Can't B Good
10. 4 Words (Interlude)
11. Never Letchu Go
12. Truth Or Dare (Interlude)
13. Greatest X
14. Good Morning Janet (Interlude)
15. So Much Betta
16. Play Selection (Interlude)
17. The 1
18. What's Ur Name
19. The Meaning (Interlude)
20. Discipline
21. Back (Interlude)
22. Curtains

Album: Number Ones (2009)


01. What Have You Done for Me Lately
02. Nasty
03. When I Think of You
04. Control
05. Let's Wait Awhile
06. The Pleasure Principle
07. Diamonds
08. Miss You Much
09. Rhythm Nation
10. Escapade
11. Alright
12. Come Back to Me
13. Black Cat
14. Love Will Never Do (Without You)
15. The Best Things in Life Are Free
16. That's the Way Love Goes


01. If
02. Again
03. Because of Love
04. Any Time, Any Place
05. Scream
06. Runaway
07. Got 'til It's Gone
08. Together Again
09. I Get Lonely
10. Go Deep
11. What's It Gonna Be?!
12. Doesn't Really Matter
13. All for You
14. Someone to Call My Lover
15. All Nite (Don't Stop)
16. Call on Me
17. Feedback
18. Make Me

Album: Icon (2010)

01. What Have You Done For Me Lately
02. Nasty
03. When I Think Of You
04. Miss You Much
05. Escapade
06. Alright
07. That's The Way Love Goes
08. Together Again
09. Doesn't Really Matter
10. All For You
11. Make Me
12. Nothing



Bow Player said...

Hey G! Just droppin' you a shout to say thanks for everything and I left you a lil sumpthin to let you know you ARE appreciated. ;-)

S Willis said...

Thanks for the music nuggets. Do you have a Tyrone Davis post?

loverofmusic said...

thank you so much!!

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